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Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue

“The strongest animals on earth are plant eaters. Every creature we’ve enlisted to do the work we couldn’t handle—the horse, donkey, elephant, camel, water buffalo, ox, yak—is an herbivore whose huge muscles were built from plant protein, and whose strong bones got that way, and stayed that way, from grazing on grass and eating other vegetables.” —Victoria Moran

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) is one of, if not the, world’s leading donkey rescue organizations. It was founded by Mark and Amy Meyers as basically a hobby. They acquired their first donkey as a companion, then began to see other donkeys in their area who were being neglected. After rescuing more than 25 abused donkeys, they decided to open a sanctuary to provide safe and loving homes for the donkeys. They began in California and opened their main facility in Texas in 2008. Currently, they have 49 locations across the United States. 

At any given time, PVDR will have more than 1,000 donkeys in its care. At present, there are over 3,500 donkeys nationwide directly under the protection of PVDR. The donkeys come to PVDR from many different situations: from abuse, neglect, abandonment, law enforcement, and wild burros who are under the threat of destruction. On average, approximately 750 donkeys per year are rescued from these types of situations.

I conducted an interview with Jessica Anselment, the Communications / Media Director at PVDR. Jessica was kind enough to answer my questions about her facility in Texas. When asked how they find the donkeys in need of rescue, Jessica told me that, because their organization is so large, there is a process that they have to abide by. There is a submission form that is considered before each rescue can begin. When it is approved, drivers with trailers are sent out to bring the donkeys back to PVDR, where they are evaluated and treated.

Jessica told me the biggest issue they see with the donkeys who have been abandoned or abused is hoof neglect. When the equines’ hooves are not maintained, they become overgrown and can cause many painful issues for donkeys. The wild burros in PVDR’s care don’t arrive with this problem because they are free-roaming and are constantly wearing down and filing their hooves when they run over rocks, gravel, and overall rough terrain. If the donkeys don’t have the freedom to move around, their hooves keep growing. PVDR also sees donkeys who are highly overfed, or incredibly underfed; both extremes are harmful. 

The facility in Texas sits on 172 acres and the donkeys are kept and rotated between six different large paddocks. San Angelo is mostly desert, and this habitat is ideal for donkeys, as they prefer dry, warm, and low land deserts—also perfect for the Wild Burro Project that PVDR has developed. PVDR works with the federal government to remove wild burros from private ranches along the Mexican border, from the Mojave National Preserve, from Death Valley National Park—and from many other locations—to safer and protected areas for donkeys. 

PVDR is working on several projects for donkeys and mules. Along with the Wild Burro Project, these include the Lost Meadows Mule Refuge, which provides a safe refuge, medical care, and training to wild-born, aggressive and mishandled mules; Donkey Rescue International, helping donkeys all over the world; and Project Sanctuary.

Because PVDR brings in more donkeys each year than it can adopt out, Project Sanctuary was born. PVDR has developed a way to keep large herds of donkeys together while they await adoption. The organization places 20-150 donkeys in areas where there is sufficient grazing available to support their needs. These grazing areas are outside PVDR’s facility and are contracted with ranchers who have abundant grazing space to rotate herds of donkeys as needed. These donkeys are constantly inspected for health issues, and receive the same treatment as the donkeys at the PVDR facility.

PVDR is open to the public on certain days, and tours can be arranged with the main office. Jessica said many visitors love coming out and “getting up close with the donkeys, to pet them and get to know them.” The domesticated donkeys interact with the staff, volunteers, and visitors on a daily basis. 

In order to run an organization of this size, PVDR has a full-time staff of 20-25 employees. It also has a dedicated staff of volunteers who keep the smaller satellite facilities running. These volunteers work directly with the donkeys, feeding, watering, and cleaning out their pens. The vets PVDR uses specialize in the care of donkeys and work very closely with PVDR at all of its facilities.

Jessica explained how they obtain funding to keep a place on this scale in operation. She said that PVDR is funded entirely by private donations; no government money is ever accepted. PVDR also has a program where people can sponsor a donkey for just cents a day.

Jessica hopes that people will recognize the value of donkeys, that donkeys’ matter. She told me, “They have a reputation of being stubborn, stupid, or mean. None of these things are true. They’re highly intelligent, incredibly affectionate, loyal, and really are like big dogs.”

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue is a truly unique organization. Mark and Amy started out with helping one donkey, and this simple gesture of love has turned into the largest rescue of its kind.

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue’s Texas operation is located in San Angelo, Texas. The organization is fully accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. For more information, visit Donkey Rescue.

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Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue

“The strongest animals on earth are plant eaters. Every creature we’ve enlisted to do the work we couldn’t handle—the horse, donkey, elephant, camel, water buffalo, ox, yak—is an herbivore whose huge muscles were built from plant protein, and whose strong bones got that way, and stayed that way, from grazing on grass and eating other vegetables.” —Victoria Moran

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) is one of, if not the, world’s leading donkey rescue organizations. It was founded by Mark and Amy Meyers as basically a hobby. They acquired their first donkey as a companion, then began to see other donkeys in their area who were being neglected. After rescuing more than 25 abused donkeys, they decided to open a sanctuary to provide safe and loving homes for the donkeys. They began in California and opened their main facility in Texas in 2008. Currently, they have 49 locations across the United States. 

At any given time, PVDR will have more than 1,000 donkeys in its care. At present, there are over 3,500 donkeys nationwide directly under the protection of PVDR. The donkeys come to PVDR from many different situations: from abuse, neglect, abandonment, law enforcement, and wild burros who are under the threat of destruction. On average, approximately 750 donkeys per year are rescued from these types of situations.

I conducted an interview with Jessica Anselment, the Communications / Media Director at PVDR. Jessica was kind enough to answer my questions about her facility in Texas. When asked how they find the donkeys in need of rescue, Jessica told me that, because their organization is so large, there is a process that they have to abide by. There is a submission form that is considered before each rescue can begin. When it is approved, drivers with trailers are sent out to bring the donkeys back to PVDR, where they are evaluated and treated.

Jessica told me the biggest issue they see with the donkeys who have been abandoned or abused is hoof neglect. When the equines’ hooves are not maintained, they become overgrown and can cause many painful issues for donkeys. The wild burros in PVDR’s care don’t arrive with this problem because they are free-roaming and are constantly wearing down and filing their hooves when they run over rocks, gravel, and overall rough terrain. If the donkeys don’t have the freedom to move around, their hooves keep growing. PVDR also sees donkeys who are highly overfed, or incredibly underfed; both extremes are harmful. 

The facility in Texas sits on 172 acres and the donkeys are kept and rotated between six different large paddocks. San Angelo is mostly desert, and this habitat is ideal for donkeys, as they prefer dry, warm, and low land deserts—also perfect for the Wild Burro Project that PVDR has developed. PVDR works with the federal government to remove wild burros from private ranches along the Mexican border, from the Mojave National Preserve, from Death Valley National Park—and from many other locations—to safer and protected areas for donkeys. 

PVDR is working on several projects for donkeys and mules. Along with the Wild Burro Project, these include the Lost Meadows Mule Refuge, which provides a safe refuge, medical care, and training to wild-born, aggressive and mishandled mules; Donkey Rescue International, helping donkeys all over the world; and Project Sanctuary.

Because PVDR brings in more donkeys each year than it can adopt out, Project Sanctuary was born. PVDR has developed a way to keep large herds of donkeys together while they await adoption. The organization places 20-150 donkeys in areas where there is sufficient grazing available to support their needs. These grazing areas are outside PVDR’s facility and are contracted with ranchers who have abundant grazing space to rotate herds of donkeys as needed. These donkeys are constantly inspected for health issues, and receive the same treatment as the donkeys at the PVDR facility.

PVDR is open to the public on certain days, and tours can be arranged with the main office. Jessica said many visitors love coming out and “getting up close with the donkeys, to pet them and get to know them.” The domesticated donkeys interact with the staff, volunteers, and visitors on a daily basis. 

In order to run an organization of this size, PVDR has a full-time staff of 20-25 employees. It also has a dedicated staff of volunteers who keep the smaller satellite facilities running. These volunteers work directly with the donkeys, feeding, watering, and cleaning out their pens. The vets PVDR uses specialize in the care of donkeys and work very closely with PVDR at all of its facilities.

Jessica explained how they obtain funding to keep a place on this scale in operation. She said that PVDR is funded entirely by private donations; no government money is ever accepted. PVDR also has a program where people can sponsor a donkey for just cents a day.

Jessica hopes that people will recognize the value of donkeys, that donkeys’ matter. She told me, “They have a reputation of being stubborn, stupid, or mean. None of these things are true. They’re highly intelligent, incredibly affectionate, loyal, and really are like big dogs.”

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue is a truly unique organization. Mark and Amy started out with helping one donkey, and this simple gesture of love has turned into the largest rescue of its kind.

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue’s Texas operation is located in San Angelo, Texas. The organization is fully accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. For more information, visit Donkey Rescue.

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